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United States, allies meet on strategy to thwart violent extremism

February 18, 2015 - UNITED STATES

The White House plans a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, a meeting precipitated by recent terror attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, and Paris.

The aim is to find a strategy to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting or inspiring individuals or groups in the United States and abroad. For European allies, measures that include sharing passenger data will be controversial.

At their emergency meeting in Paris in January following the attack by jihadists on the Charlie Hebdo offices, European Union interior ministers agreed to step up the drive against radicalization and disrupt movement of terrorist networks. The meeting saw some support for implementing a US style Passenger Name Record. A proposed European Passenger Name Record database would allow authorities to keep a database of all travelers. The proposal faces possible opposition in the European Parliament, where database retention moves are viewed, in the words of the Guardian newspaper report about the emergency meeting, as "big brother measures."

The sensitive issue of a formal sharing of US and European passenger data might be raised at the White House meeting, with an outcome that defies speculation.

Press Secretary statement on summit (White House 11 Jan 2015)

Theresa May leads calls for EU-wide travel database to track all passengers (Guardian 12 Jan 2015)

Date written/update: 2015-02-03